For teacher’s orientation Cat, I, Brent from California, and his German girlfriend Letitia piled in our tiny Peugeot and drove to Murcia (pronounced Murthia), the capital of our region. The orientation itself was the longest four hours of our lives, but I knitted half a hat, and we made new friends with the other teachers so no one was struggling for life. But, I won’t simply glaze over the experience for time’s sake. Through those first tastes of Spanish bureaucracy we had an epiphany:
The Spanish are not really interested in efficiency. We could have condensed the entire orientation to 30 minutes plus time for paperwork, but it took four hours and left permanent confused looks on everyone’s faces. However, it got done. You could tell who the Americans, Canadians, British, and Germans were in the room because they were all red in the face and disgruntled at the amount of wasted time. But the Spaniards present were calm, patient, and willing to take all day. As the orientation unfolded into a holy bungle, the four of us took time to discuss the disorganization, and we decided it’s simply the Spanish way of life. They aren’t going to rush, they aren’t going to put more effort into being more efficient if the job gets done in the end anyway, and they’re going to live in the present and not accomplish a thousand things a day like Americans, Canadians, Germans, and Brits would. The Spanish put living ahead of working. And that’s that.
After escaping the talons of Spanish bureaucracy *she said with chagrin* we took a long walk through the orange tree lined streets of Murcia, where we took in the cathedral, the blue tiled roofs, and viewed our first glimpses of Islamic influence.
We stopped in a cafe outside the cathedral, had a few tapas, and giggled a few hours away in the sunny plaza. The octopus was my favorite.
Brent is in green, and Letty is in the pink. We’ve really enjoyed getting to know them.
Stay tuned for our trip to the La Manga beach! And thanks for reading.
Song of the Day: Colgando en Tus Manos | Carlos Baute
Spanish Word of the Day: El pulpo | Octupus Photos by Amy Lucas